Posts Tagged ‘Jennie Driscoll’

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Silver Linings

March 12, 2021

Teacher Leader voices of Maine on the bright lights that the pandemic afforded

A year ago my school, like all schools in Maine, shut down because of the Covid outbreak. On Friday, March 13th staff left for the weekend without knowing what the next week was going to bring. Staff and parents and students quickly kicked into a complete ‘flex mode’ each day learning and building on our knowledge. In the beginning it was an amazing and unsettling feeling to watch, listen, and learn through a completely different lens. Everyone stepped up and each person, young and old, were terrific. The summer came and went with educators throughout the world considering the next steps. With open minds and a cooperative spirit the sharing of ideas flowed through the air waves (in most cases at no cost) and connected educators in a completely different way. I can only think of a couple of other times in my career when my pathways to learning were so rapid. As the 2020-21 school year progressed FLEXIBILITY continued to be necessary. And, as we pause for the one year anniversary of education changing drastically we are beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel. My greatest hope is that our pathways of learning, sharing ideas, and collaborating will continue. And, I do hope that we simply don’t ‘go back’ to where we were before unless the pieces are in the best interest of every learner!

The following Maine Visual or Performing Arts Educators kindly provided their “silver linings” of the pandemic. We all have them, what is yours? Please email your silver linings at meartsed@gmail.com so we can continue to learn from each other.

  • I teach the littlest students. My silver lining is that, since class sizes are very small, there is time to hear all students’ stories, opinions, ideas, etc. There is also time for every student to have a turn at every activity. They get more individual attention than ever before. ~ Patti Gordan, Music Teacher, Raymond Elementary School
  • From Sue Barre, Grades 5-12 Band Director, Waterville Public Schools Like many school programs traveling with students to perform in other locations has been temporarily eliminated. Instead each high school ensemble commissioned a piece – reflective in some way to the last year we have all experienced. Ensemble members have had the opportunity for input and for interaction with the composers. “This experience has been so much more than I anticipated, really cool to watch students learn in a whole new way”!
    • In band I asked the students what dates were of importance to them and these are some that came forward: 3/31/20 – last day of school, 5/25/20 – death of George Floyd and 1/6/21 were some of the dates that came forward. 
    • I asked for sounds that they connected to last year and ideas such as email arriving into the box, sirens and silence came up…   
    • The most fascinating sessions were with the composer sharing ideas. The chorus and orchestra have had different experiences than the band. 
    • In May we hope to have a socially distanced event to share the debuts and senior recognition night all wrapped into one. 
  • From Kate Smith, Music Teacher Central Elementary School, So. Berwick
    • The pandemic has increased awareness of the value of reliable daycare and how it effects the wellbeing of an economy. I hope this will lead to additional and consistent financial support from the government.
    • Smaller class sizes have enabled more personalized, individualized and differentiated instruction. Students can ask more questions and have more turns. I am more likely to have enough instruments or resources for everyone. 
    • Free professional development opportunities abound like never before. I’ve seen increased collaboration between educators within districts, states and even internationally. Everyone has had to learn how to use technology like video conferencing which means everyone now has the skills to connect online. I hope this continues. 
  • My silver lining is the freedom this chaotic moment in time has presented to try something completely different. I am sharing photos from one of my third grade classes this week. We went outside to make art as a whole-class reward for the great choices they’ve made during the last 6 weeks that we’ve all been back together at Madison Elementary. (Other classes will earn their “Outside Art”, too. It just may take a little longer : ) I gave these students snow block makers and spray bottles filled with watercolor paint and pointed them to the snow. It was a blast and it made my art teacher heart happy to see the creativity and teamwork this class demonstrated.  ~ Lisa Ingraham, K-4 Art Teacher, Madison Elementary School, K-12 Gifted & Talented, MSAD 59
  • I have several silver fillings, I mean linings. But one came out the other day that I totally didn’t realize was there.In the pre-covidian era, it was a weekly inevitability  that a first grader would raise their hand and say” Mrs. R., I lost a tooth!” Of course every other hand in the room would shoot up and a chorus ensued with the end result that we would lose 5 minutes of Art time. This has been missing for almost a year now and despite having the 5 minutes back, I really miss those gap-tooth smiles. So I guess it is more like a silver filling after all.  ~Allie Rimkunas, Great Falls Elementary School Art Teacher
  • Thanks to Coronavirus – both the time I have gotten back with my family and the strides I have made in differentiated learning for my classroom. Technology resources have made it so learning can happen anywhere and for any student with the click of a button. ~Iva Damon, Leavitt Area High School Art Teacher, Humanities Network Leader
  • From Hope Lord, Maranacook Middle School Art Teacher
    • Zoom Parent Teacher Conferences are very efficient and I am able to attend multiple meetings to speak to parents of advisees and students in my classes. In traditional conferences I would have to decide which meetings to attend. Now I can join a meeting and share and then leave and join another student’s meeting within a few seconds. It’s been a great tool.
    • Another wonderful benefit from having to adapt to teaching during a pandemic is that most of my teaching resources, videos, assignments, and assessments are now available online through Google Classroom. If a student is absent, they will have access to the lesson online and can complete the work at home when they feel better and not fall behind. 
    • Lastly, no more snow days that extend the school year way into June. Since we have had remote learning days, we have not had a snow day. We won’t have to be in school until the end of June! 
  • My silver lining…….hmmm. No more photos turned in or left on the dryer in the darkroom : ” STUDENT ARTIST  UNKNOWN”!  Now that work is digital and submitted in Google CLassroom I ALWAYS know whose image it is!  ~Jennie Driscoll, Brunswick High School Art Teacher
  • We all have the students that are quiet in school, do not talk, that seem to want to be invisible and they never participate in class discussions, nor would I make them. I always wondered and worried about these students. When we went to remote some of these students slowly began to come out of their armor they had built up. We began to have rich conversations about their art work and the deep meanings they put into them and they share the art they do on their own. They are comfortable in their own environment and slowly have come to life and I have the privilege of really getting to know them. I look forward to my zoom sessions with these students where they smile and laugh and share their ideas with me. Connecting with these students is my positive out of the negative, my “silver lining”.      ~Holly (Leighton) Boyce, Mattanawcook Academy Art Teacher
  • I have been having – hands down – one of the most rewarding school years of my career. I’ve been creating my curriculum several weeks ahead of teaching it all year so far. And what it has done is:
    • reinforce that singing and playing is not content: it’s DELIVERY
    • when the delivery method changes that there are many other ways of delivering content
    • my program is not built on my students’ emotional dependence on it, so the transition away from singing was pretty easy
    • being a good teacher is not dependent on circumstances ~Rob Westerberg, Music Educator, York High School
  • From Eva Wagner, Bangor High School Art Teacher Class size for sure, so much better in the art room to have smaller class sizes. Eva wrote these amazing Silver Linings – Haiku Style:

From Leah Olson, Ellsworth High School Art Teacher

  •  The silver linings that I’ve discovered in the age of covid are many! Since March 13th, life has been a bumpy journey to say the least! The hybrid of learning for students has forced me to rethink projects differently in regards to curriculum, material use and social interactions in and out of the art room. In regards to curriculum, I had to change my units as immediately as school started in the fall. I realized that my units were not going to work as well for students who were completely remote. So, I met them where they were at. Units were and are chunked down with reinforcing the basic concepts of ceramics and jewelry. It has worked out so well that I may rethink the sequential curriculum for next year! 
    • In regards to using technology, I’ve been using Google Folders for years as portfolios to grade student work, so that was easy to keep track of student progress. I started using Google Classroom last year after March 13th to post Zoom Meeting links and reminders. The newest learning tool to navigate around was creating a Google website that students could access rubrics, videos and links most relevant to the lesson. It’s been so helpful for students to access this if they miss a class or need a review of the techniques. The silver lining is that I finally created a website that can be used in the years to come! : )
    • Another silver lining is that through the covid grant, I was able to purchase materials so that Ellsworth High School students could work from home and from school. Because of this, students would create two projects using the same technique – the easier project would be done at home and the more difficult one would be done at school. This reinforced fluency and confidence using the tools and materials.   
    • Having no more than ten students in class allows me to demonstrate techniques for students remotely and physically. I’ve been able to work alongside with students in a way I never could before. While they are working with their works, I am too. We talk with each other, laugh, and at the same time, the bar is raised. The social connections with students could not be experienced in the same way as a class of twenty. You all know what I mean! There is time to talk with one another.
    • Finally, I’m also learning more about teaching ceramics through trial and error. Like, don’t travel with bone dry projects. Telling students to not leave clay in the freezing cold car overnight, and cheese graters at the Dollar Tree work great for downsizing thick places in pots and evening out the surfaces. I learned that cutting pinch pots in half to see the thickness of the walls make for better pinch pot luminaries, raku clay is an excellent starter clay for slab containers because you don’t have to wait to join the walls, watercolor underglazes are a game changer for creativity and traveling back and forth from home to school. This is just to name a few! I often wonder what students will think of learning about jewelry and ceramics through the pandemic years from now. Hopefully, they will look at something they made and see the year 2020 or 2021 scratched into their work and feel a sense of relief, pride, and nostalgia! I am reminded daily by the phrase, “The Darkest Nights Produce The Brightest Stars”.
Sierra Andrews) who absolutely loves her “Mainely Mug”
Think you can “Handle It” assignment
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MALI Becomes MAEPL

December 8, 2020

Teacher Network Rebrands its Commitment to Arts Education

The Teacher Leader network known as MALI, or Maine Arts Leadership Initiative, has taken on the new mantle of MAEPL, Maine Arts Education Partners in Leadership, with the revised mission to develop and promote high quality arts education for all.” Leaders of MAEPL say the new name and mission statement better encapsulates what this community of arts educators has been and will continue to be. The process evolved as a result of bringing in new staff and expanding the organization’s leadership structure. Jake Sturtevant, music educator at Falmouth High School, longtime MALI member and Chair of the MAEPL Vision Team, said, “We are still committed to partnering with each other to be resilient, compassionate, and curious Teacher Leaders for our students and in our communities.”

2014 Summer MALI Institute

MALI, now MAEPL, a program of the Maine Arts Commission, is a unique teacher leader development program specifically for preK-12 visual and performing arts (VPA) educators from across the state, one of the very few in the country.  Led by active educators, they focus on the emerging needs of the field.  Components of the year-long program for both classroom teachers and teaching artists in all arts disciplines include community-building, an annual Individualized Professional Development Plan, structured mutual accountability, and leadership development. Over 120 Maine VPA teachers, as well as teaching artists, have participated in the last ten years.  

Even before the pandemic, teachers of the arts often felt isolated.  School district-level trainings are often geared towards general or “core” subject teachers.  “I’m only one of two in my district teaching elementary music.  We are in our little islands, far from anyone else doing what we do,” said Kate Smith, 2014 York County Teacher of the Year and MAEPL Program Team Leader.  “MALI changed all that.” 

Pamela Kinsey, Lori Spruce, Kate Smith, Pam Chernesky, Julie Richard, Winter Retreat 2020

This past year the group took a deep dive into their own organizational structure, assessing and clarifying their policies and processes. Even through the pandemic, the Leadership Teams met and solicited input from the entire membership, and determined a new name, a refined mission, and a new logo. “We chose the whirling maple seed pod as our new symbol because we felt it reflected the best of what we do – taking new ideas, learning and sharing together, then planting them throughout our school communities,” said Jennie Driscoll, visual art educator at Brunswick High School and Vision Team member. “It’s got our energy.”  

In 2020 they also delivered a virtual Summer Institute to 50 VPA educators, addressing the social and emotional resiliency needed this year. In addition, many members led efforts to support and connect with other teachers quickly adjusting to online instruction, leading virtual seminars through the Maine Department of Education and the Maine Arts Commission.

Group exercise at Winter Retreat, 2020

 “MALI grew a wealth of resources and committed members over the years,” said the current Director of Arts Education for the Maine Arts Commission, Martha Piscuskas, referring to the online Resource Bank and Arts Assessment Resources website, available free to all teachers. “We wanted to build on those strengths.” In addition to the professional development programs, next steps include creating an advisory council, streamlining their web presence, and continued advocacy for the sector. 

The group formed in 2010 to focus on student assessments, an emerging need for visual and performing arts teachers at that time. After learning from other states, a small group of educators led by Argy Nestor, the former Director of Arts Education at the Commission, Rob Westerberg, Choral Director at York High School, and Catherine Ring, former school administrator and art teacher, created the Maine Arts Assessment Initiative. They established the multi-day Summer Institute, sharing a framework and best practices for successful arts assessment in the classroom. “We quickly became the assessment experts in our schools,” said Sturtevant. 

Hope Lord and Adele Drake, MALI Summer Institute 2017

In 2015 the group added “teacher voice” and advocacy to their mission, becoming the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI), again addressing emerging needs of the sector. “I never would have thought to seek out leadership positions, continue my graduate studies, or have presented at conferences without the support and influence of MALI,” said Iva Damon, visual art teacher and Humanities Department Head at Leavitt Area High School.    

For more information about MAEPL, and to learn about how to get involved, contact Director of Arts Education for the Maine Arts Commission, Martha Piscuskas at martha.piscuskas@maine.gov. Arts education resources developed over the years are accessible through the Maine Arts Commission’s website, https://mainearts.maine.gov/pages/programs/maai.

The Maine Arts Commission is a state agency supporting artists, arts organizations, educators, policy makers, and community developers to advance the arts in Maine since 1966.  www.Mainearts.com


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Those Amazing Presenters!

October 15, 2015

Different format provides info for all

The Biennial Statewide conference provided a unique format with 5X5 presentations – our version of Pecha Kucha. Each of the workshop session leaders presented for 5 minutes using 5-8 slides. These took place during the morning of the Measure of Success conference which gave participants a chance to hear and see and appetizer of 9 different topics.

On top of providing the workshops each of the presenters put together a plethora of resources and they are available to all of you! When you go there you will be totally blown away at the amazing resources they collected which are now living at http://www.maineartsassessment.com/#!measure-of-success-conference/chki. DON’T miss them.

During the afternoon of the conference presenters jumped into the 9 topics by providing hour and 15 minute sessions on the following:

  • Studio Habits of Mind: Using the “Hidden Curriculum” to Encourage Student Autonomy with Visual Arts Teachers Theresa Cerceo from Dr. Levesque Elementary, Wisdom Middle/High School and Janie Snider from Hancock Grammar School

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  • Making Maine and ME with Visual Arts Teacher Jennie Driscoll from Brunswick High School

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  • Evaluating Individual Proficiency within the Large Ensemble with Music Teacher Jen Etter from York Middle School
  • Dancing with the Creative Process: How to incorporate standards-based dance and movement activities in classroom learning and assessment with Dancer, Educator, and Teaching Artist John Morris

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  • In the Midst of Madness with Music Teacher Jen Nash from Sabasticook Valley Middle School, Dance Teacher MaryEllen Schaper from Bonny Eagle Middle School, and Associate Professor, Educational Leadership from USM Jeff Beaudry, Ph.D.

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  • Empathy, Kindness and Wonder, Arts Integration at Work with the Director and Founder of Sweet Tree Arts Lindsay Pinchbeck
  • Brains on Fire: How Research on the Brain Can Inform Arts Education with the Executive Director of the New England Institute for Teacher Education Catherine Ring
  • From Cool to Tool: Technology Integration with Student Learning in Mind with Music Teacher  Kate Smith from Central School in South Berwick, and Mt. Blue High School in Farmington Teacher Dan Ryder

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  • Proficiency Based Learning: An Advocacy Story Music Teacher Rob Westerberg from York High School 
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A GREAT big thank you to each of the presenters for the 9 sessions. YOU were truly amazing!

Please note: On August 3, 2015, MAAI, the Maine Arts Assessment Initiative, announced its new name, MALI, the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative. MALI is a program of the Maine Arts Commission. You can read about it at https://meartsed.wordpress.com/2015/08/09/maai-goes-to-mali/. Please email Argy Nestor if you have any questions at argy.nestor@maine.gov.

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A Word About the Conference Presentations

September 10, 2015

Biennial statewide conference – October 9 – Early-bird registration deadline is today, September 10!

GO DIRECTLY TO REGISTRATION https://www.regonline.com/Register/Checkin.aspx?EventID=1726177

TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THE WORKSHOPS http://mainearts.maine.gov/Pages/Education/Biennial-Statewide-Register

The photo below is from a zoom meeting where some of the workshop presenters for the October 9 statewide biennial arts education conference The Measure of Success were engaged in learning more about how to put together the best format for the morning sessions. We are calling the sessions 5 X 5.

What does that mean?

Nine workshops are being offered during the PM sessions. Each conference participant selects from two of them (they are repeated) to attend when they register. During the AM session each workshop presenter will have 5 minutes and 5-8 images to provide a glimpse of their afternoon session that is scheduled for 1 hour and 15 minutes.

What if you see/hear something in the AM that you must attend?

You can change your mind and attend a different session in the PM than you registered for before the conference.

Screen Shot 2015-07-17 at 2.07.33 PM

If they look serious it is because they were working to bring you the BEST learning opportunities possible!

THE TOPICS

  • Studio Habits of Mind: Using the “Hidden Curriculum” to Encourage Student Autonomy with Visual Arts Teachers Theresa Cerceo from Dr. Levesque Elementary, Wisdom Middle/High School and Janie Snider from Hancock Grammar School
  • Making Maine and ME with Visual Arts Teacher Jennie Driscoll from Brunswick High School
  • Evaluating Individual Proficiency within the Large Ensemble with Music Teacher Jen Etter from York Middle School
  • Dancing with the Creative Process: How to incorporate standards-based dance and movement activities in classroom learning and assessment with Dancer, Educator, and Teaching Artist John Morris
  • In the Midst of Madness with Music Teacher Jen Nash from Sabasticook Valley Middle School, Dance Teacher MaryEllen Schaper from Bonny Eagle Middle School, and Associate Professor, Educational Leadership from USM Jeff Beaudry, Ph.D.
  • Empathy, Kindness and Wonder, Arts Integration at Work with the Director and Founder of Sweet Tree Arts Lindsay Pinchbeck
  • Brains on Fire: How Research on the Brain Can Inform Arts Education with the Executive Director of the New England Institute for Teacher Education Catherine Ring
  • From Cool to Tool: Technology Integration with Student Learning in Mind with Music Teacher  Kate Smith from Central School in South Berwick, Mountain Valley High School in Rumford Teacher Jeff Bailey, and Mt. Blue High School in Farmington Teacher Dan Ryder
  • Proficiency Based Learning: An Advocacy Story Music Teacher Rob Westerberg from York High School 

    Want to learn more about the sessions? 
    If you wish to reach a description of each workshop, see photos of the presenters, WATCH A ONE MINUTE VIDEO on each session, please go to http://mainearts.maine.gov/Pages/Education/Biennial-Statewide-Workshop-Descriptions#.

    What else are these workshop presenters providing?

    An amazing collection of resources that will go live on the day of the conference, October 9. You will be blown away by what they’ve put together for conference attendees. You won’t want to miss it just for the resources alone!

    Deadline for the Early-bird registration of $90 is today, September 9!

    The conference is sponsored by the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI), a program of the Maine Arts Commission. To learn more please go to http://mainearts.maine.gov/Pages/Education/MAAI#

    Please note: On August 3, 2015, MAAI, the Maine Arts Assessment Initiative, announced its new name, MALI, the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative. You can read about it at https://meartsed.wordpress.com/2015/08/09/maai-goes-to-mali/. Please email Argy Nestor if you have any questions at argy.nestor@maine.gov.

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Day 3: Maine Arts Assessment Initiative Institute

August 8, 2012

Leadership and Creativity

On day 3 of the MAAI institute teacher leaders participated in two Leadership sessions and a session on Creativity. Brunswick High School Art teacher Jennie Driscoll facilitated the first leadership session through hands-on experiences that led to identifying the characteristics of leaders. Some of those identified were risk taker, communicator, confident, humility, trust, and compassion.

MAAI leadership team member and Executive Director of the New England Institute for Teacher Education Catherine Ring facilitated the second leadership session where participants took a close look at their role as leaders; in their schools, districts, communities and beyond. They looked at the research and explored questions including How do we work with adults to encourage change?

Leadership team member and Bates College instructor Bronwyn Sale facilitated the Creativity session.  Included in the Maine Learning Results: Parameters for Essential Instruction the Visual and Performing Arts include Standard C. Creative-Problem Solving. As arts educators this standard represents creativity, the creative process, creative thinking, and creative problem solving. All of these were examined in this session and should be taught intentionally in the arts classroom.

Teacher leaders continued working on their individual action plans putting together what they were learning during the institute. The plans include their ideas for their regional workshops that they will facilitate throughout the school year. The day ended with a celebration of the good work the teacher leaders are doing at a reception with MECA’s President Don Tuski in the college’s gallery ICA.

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Another Arts Teachers’ Story: Jennie Driscoll

June 26, 2012

Featuring one teacher’s journey as an educator

This is the 15th in a series of blog posts telling arts teachers’ stories. This series contains a set of questions to provide the opportunity for you to read educators stories and to learn from others.

Jennie Driscoll has been teaching visual arts for 24 years and is presently the chair of the Arts Department at
Brunswick High School
She has taught Photography I , Photography II, Art 3, Art 4, and Advanced Placement Studio Art for students in grades 10-12. Jennie is one of the teacher leaders with Phase 1 of the Maine Arts Assessment Initiative.

What do you like best about being an art educator?

Helping students develop confidence as they express their ideas in a variety of media and utilize technical skill. I find media and tools an exciting pathway for the expression. I like seeing personal artistic growth and a seriousness of purpose develop in my students over time.

Tell me what you think are three keys to ANY successful arts ed program?

  1. What –Strong assignments that encourage students to problem solve.
  2. How – Teach technique with media so students have the right set of tools for expression.
  3. Share – Authentic assessments that allow for reflection on craft and expression.

What specific way(s) do your assessment practices tie into the success of your program?

I allow my students to be part of the assessment process and invite them to reflect and revise their art work to make it the best they can be. I invite the class to support one another with feedback. My goal is to help students express their ideas clearly in visual media.

What have been the benefits in becoming involved in the arts assessment initiative?

Sharing and connecting with arts professionals that deal with the same issues.

What are you most proud of in your career?

Always being there to support my art students as they take risks and make mistakes. Student successes  have a big impact on letting me know I am on the right track.

What gets in the way of being a better teacher or doing a better job as a teacher?

Not having enough time and too much to do, oh also the little beep I get when an email comes in.

Apple or PC?

Apple

What have you accomplished through hard work and determination that might otherwise appear at first glance to be due to “luck” or circumstances?

I have done my best to build and maintain a strong visual art program as well as meet the needs of individual students.

Look into your crystal ball: what advice would you give to teachers?

Although there are many days that seem like you don’t know if you are making a difference  or not, hang in there because the universe will share meaningful moments and your purpose will be validated. There will be specific art works that your brain will absorb and will always remember and thus you will in turn remember the student who did it.

If you were given a $500,000.00 to do with whatever you please, what would it be?

I would purchase a kiln and supplies for ceramics in each elementary art department in Maine that does not have one. Of course I would include teacher training in curriculum, assessment, and operation along with clay, some tools and cones!

Thank you for sharing your story Jennie!

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Brunswick High School Students go to Boston

November 30, 2011

Museum of Fine Arts

Brunswick High School art teacher, Jennie Driscoll recently took advantage of the opportunity that the Lunder Foundation has provided for all Maine students. In June the foundation announced a huge gift to provide the chance for all Maine students: Free admittance to the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. You can read the details about the opportunity at https://meartsed.wordpress.com/2011/05/24/in-todays-news-33/

Jennie took a group of AP / Art IV students on the Downeaster Discovery field trip program – only $15.oo per student to Boston. She said: “It was a great trip!”

Art teacher Jennie Driscoll and her students at the MFA in Boston

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